February 05, 2020
Media Release by Modo
Victoria, BC (February 5, 2020) – Modo adds a second wheelchair accessible van to its fleet, making it the first shared vehicle of its kind in Victoria. The vehicle will be conveniently located at Community Living Victoria, at Cedar Hill Cross Road and Merriman Drive, and is expected to be a welcome addition to the community; which according to Statistics Canada, is aging faster than most Canadian cities.
Seniors over 65 make up 18% of the population in the Capital Region, 3% higher than BC’s average. As the size of this group grows, so will the demand for services tailored to them, with transportation topping the list.
“Modo’s new accessibility van will help everyone living with mobility challenges, especially our seniors, who tend to have an increased risk of becoming isolated,” says Lesley Cobus of the Monterey Recreation Centre. “Staying connected and engaged in one’s community is essential for people’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.”
But seniors aren’t the only ones requiring specialty vehicles to get around, with 7.2% of Canadians over the age of 15 reported to be mobility impaired.
According to Jenna Wright, Spinal Cord Injury (SPI) BC’s Provincial Peer Program Lead, having access to a wheelchair-friendly vehicle makes participation in community events possible. “By reserving Modo’s accessibility van for the day, members who otherwise wouldn’t be able to take part – due to lack of suitable transportation – can,” says Wright. “Having access to a safe vehicle, without the added cost of gas and insurance, removes a lot of the stress.”
As a member-owned co-operative, focused on people not profit, adding a second accessibility van to its fleet just made sense. “For many, getting there can be half the fun. But for those living with mobility challenges, getting places is often half the battle,” says Selena McLachlan, Director of Communications. “Our social purpose – to connect people with places in a way that’s affordable, convenient, inclusive and sustainable – is core to who we are. This is especially true when it comes to members of our community who are under-served by conventional modes of transportation due to a number of reasons.” Modo’s accessibility vans can fit four passengers and a wheelchair user, so families and friends can travel together. Each van has a folding ramp, rear entrance, and tie-down straps for wheelchairs of all types.
The new Victoria-based accessibility van is expected to serve those looking to get around the city or away from it. Ernie Baatz, Executive Director of Spectrum Society for Community Living, notes that most people with mobility needs rely on transit or neighbourhood resources for their day to day lives, but less so when it comes to trips out of town or spending time with family. “When they want to get away for the weekend or visit friends and family out in the valley? Modo’s new accessibility van will provide a safe, reliable vehicle for the full duration their excursion,” says Baatz. “Making their trip much smoother.”
With a commitment to inclusivity, investing in a community amenity like an accessibility van is well worth it to Modo, despite the higher costs of purchasing and operating these vehicles. And with Vancouver Island’s population growing, Bert Abbott, Peer Program Manager, thinks access to a shared mobility vehicle will give many a viable alternative to owning one, which is cost prohibitive for most. “Many people with a disability cannot afford to purchase their own van, nor do they need one full time,” say Abbott. “Modo’s model sounds like a great way to give people more access to their community and freedom in their lives.”
Ellen Tarshis, Executive Director of Community Living Victoria was happy to provide parking for the van, citing that “Adding a wheelchair accessible vehicle will make a huge difference to so many people in our community.” Anyone interested in joining Modo to use their accessibility vehicle or others in its fleet, can sign up online with the code VICACCESS for $50 in free driving.
Modo started in 1997 as the first carshare co-operative in the region. To this day, it remains member-owned, driven by people not profit. Modo provides its round trip service, to more than 22,000 members and 900 businesses across the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and the Okanagan. Members get access to over 700 cars, trucks, SUVs and vans, with rates starting at just $4 per hour, including gas and insurance. www.modo.coop
Director of Marketing & Communications